Finding The Best Tractor For The Money | Great Days Outdoors

Finding The Best Tractor For The Money

So you’ve rationalized your need for a tractor to the point you are now ready to begin your search. You want to get the best tractor for the money, but you also want something dependable with a lifespan of decades and not just a few years. 

Taking the time to learn the actual cost of long-term ownership can help you decide if you buy new or used and where you ultimately make that purchase. Whether you cruise your community looking for a used machine or visit a dealer like SunSouth, headquartered out of Dothan, AL.with multiple locations, can depend on looking at the bigger picture.

You can calculate your yearly fuel costs, routine maintenance and even add a little to your budget for the occasional broken part. 

However, there are still a few more considerations about long-term ownership that might sway your final decision and provide you with a better idea of the ultimate cost. 



Beginning Your Search

It’s a good idea to take a pen & paper and make a list of the tasks you will most often perform with the aid of your new machine. You might even write down a few questions before you start kicking the tires on a potential candidate.


best tractor for the money

A tractor can be an big purchase for a landowner, so finding the best tractor for the money, that fits their needs, is important.




If you decide to look for the best used tractor for the money, you need to know what to look for to ensure that it’s in good working order. Hour meters are essential, but they don’t tell the whole story. Knowing the service and repair history is vital to a good evaluation. Also, what accessories are you going to need down the road?

Will you be trailering your machine to remote locations? Will you need auxiliary power for devices or tools? Will you occasionally leave your machine in remote areas that might be tough to reach in your everyday truck? 


Visiting a Local Dealer

I took a list of questions about new and used tractors and also discussed the other equipment that my local SunSouth dealer in Tuscaloosa has to offer. I sat down with  master salesman Drew Shirley, who has been in the tractor business for 15 years, to better understand what is meant by the term “Ultimate Cost.”  Shirley said that about 50% of his customers are first-time buyers with lots of questions. 

“Let’s say you need a part for a 20-year-old John Deere. There’s a good chance we have it in stock in our parts department or at any of the other 20 SunSouth stores in Mississippi, Alabama, or Georgia. If it’s not in stock we can quickly deliver it to wherever it’s needed,” Shirley said.. “That’s an important aspect to long-term ownership.

Knowing that factory-certified mechanics will help you keep your equipment in tip-top shape and that parts will be available down the road is how we help customers estimate the ultimate cost.”


lawn care equipment

A quality tractor isn’t the only thing a landowner needs to maintain their property; weed eaters, chainsaws, blowers, and more are also valuable pieces of equipment.


“Our customers are surprised when they walk into our showroom and see Stihl chainsaws, weed eaters, blowers, and even pressure washers to keep their equipment clean,” Shirley said. “John Deere has partnered with Stihl and Honda to carry a line of products that complements the equipment that landowners and businesses need for farming, landscaping, and commercial applications.” 


Service & Parts

“The fact that we offer pick-up and delivery, on-site service, in-store financing, extended warranties, and can service your equipment or sell you parts on a Saturday is part of our long-term commitment to customer satisfaction,” Shirley added.

“People sometimes think that purchasing a new, or even a used John Deere is out of their budget. When we explain our financing options and the package deals we offer, they are surprised that there is often very little price difference between new and used equipment, especially in today’s market.”

“SunSouth also offers a customer portal that allows you to track your equipment purchases, order parts, request service, and print invoices from your mobile device. It’s a great tool to help customers organize and keep a record of everything related to their equipment,” Shirley noted.

Shirley also talked a little about the history of John Deere and the proud heritage it represents. 

“It is a deeply rooted American company with 15 factories in the U.S. They have other factories across the globe, but most of the equipment you see at our dealers is made right here in the U.S,” he said.


Compact Series

Determining how many acres your tractor or lawnmower will be taking care of is critical when it comes to making your final choice on the best compact tractor for the money. The popularity of compact tractors reflects a growing trend that sees many families becoming more involved in brush clearing, fencing, gardening, and wildlife habitat.

There are over 20 models to choose from in the John Deere tractor Compact Series, and their website lists over 200 commercial-grade attachments. This versatility allows owners to accomplish everything from mowing lawns to clearing land. 


best compact tractor for the money

Compact tractors allow families to take control of their land and brush management.


The ability to adapt and connect your tractor to various commercial-grade attachments with a simple, secure system like the one developed by John Deere is a bonus. It makes going from grass cutting to setting fence posts a much simpler task with their new Quick-Kinect system. 



Anything that allows flexibility or assistance in how you use your machine is my definition of an accessory. That might mean a dedicated lawn mower verses a mowing attachment. It might also mean a Gator UTV or side-by-side to haul fuel, a generator, or to check fences.

A pressure washer to clean the mud off the tires and keep your equipment clean, a high-volume water pump, chainsaw, blower, weed eater, hedge trimmers or a trailer to haul it all also qualifies. 

For the average home-owner, a tractor is their largest and most powerful piece of equipment. It is the primary tool for a farmer, landscaper, or someone in forestry. Anyone who has owned a tractor for any length of time gathers peripheral items such as chains, straps, and tie-downs. It’s an added bonus to know that all these items are available at your local SunSouth dealer.


Final Thoughts

The amount of land and your budget will ultimately determine the right-sized tractor and the attachments that will meet your needs. If you need the best 50 hp tractor for the money or the best 100 hp tractor for the money. To arrive at the “Ultimate Costs,” you need to factor in the initial purchase price, attachments, operating cost, and depreciation.

You can then subtract the value of the potential and actual work it can perform multiplied by its lifespan. A premium brand that is well maintained will hold its value for many years to come. The availability of parts 10-20 years down the road is also an additional benefit. 

Whether you have a lawn-care, landscaping, logging, or construction business, or just a landowner ready to get serious around your homestead, knowing the long-term value of your investment can help you decide the best tractor to buy for the money. It might even determine if you park it in the front yard…or around back.


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